5 Yoga Poses To Practice First Thing In The Morning
While an hour-long yoga and meditation class would be ideal to get the day started, unfortunately sometimes we don’t have the time (or the inclination to get out of our pajamas). This is a 10-minute sequence that encourages the use of mindful breathing and gentle movement ensuring your day begins with ease and joy. Note: I may or may not actually get out of bed for the first two ...
Child's Pose (Balasana)
From kneeling, bring your chest down onto your thighs and your forehead to the floor. Your arms lengthen by your side with your hands next to your feet; if it’s more comfortable, stack your hands underneath your forehead.
Take a slow, full breath in through your nose and notice the back of the chest expand and the ribs widen. As you exhale through the nose see if you can sink the buttocks back down toward the heels feeling the spine gently curving over the thighs.
Stay here for 5-10 breaths, or however long feels good for you.
Cat/Cow Pose (Bidalasana)
Move into a tabletop position with the wrists directly beneath the shoulders and the knees beneath the hips. Press the palms into the mat to ensure your shoulder blades are broad.
As you inhale, look forward, or up if it’s comfortable for your neck, reaching the tailbone toward the sky. Exhale as you tuck the chin to the chest and reach the tailbone to the floor. Continue through this movement, allowing the breath to lead and feeling the entire spine being massaged. Try to keep the creases of the elbows facing each other the entire time to protect the joint from hyperextension.
Breathe through 5 rounds, or longer if it feels good.
Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Take the palms a little wider than shoulder width, tuck the toes and lift the hips into the air. The chest moves back toward the thighs with the head relaxed and arms straight. Roll the shoulders away from the ears, keep the knees bent and start to walk one heel down at a time. Remember: it’s more important to keep the hips high than to get the soles of the feet to the ground.
Another 5 -10 breaths here.
Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
Walk your feet toward the hands and let the upper body hang. The neck and head are relaxed, the knees bent to start with. If there’s no tension in your lower back you can start to straighten your legs. As you inhale find length through the spine, exhale and the head moves slowly towards the feet. You may feel a little bit like a jellyfish, but trust me, your hamstrings don’t care how silly you look.
10 breaths here and you’ll feel a foot taller.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
From a standing position, widen your leg stance to about a leg-length. Turn the right foot out to the side, ensuring the heel is aligning with the center arch of the left foot. Take the arms parallel to the ground and reach out to the right side, keeping both legs straight with the thighs engaged. When you can’t reach any further, pivot the arms so they are in one line, moving in opposite directions. The chest remains open and the torso lengthens. If it's comfortable and you have the balance, gaze toward your top thumb.
5 breaths here and repeat on the other side.